Asteroid Bennu HD Photos: NASA’s Stunning Asteroid Gains Images | Sciences | New


NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft took these incredibly detailed photos of asteroids just a mile above Bennu. The recently released photos, taken on January 17, show the asteroid Bennu from its south pole. The detailed views come nearly three years after NASA’s asteroid mission took off from Earth and into space. NASA astronauts are now mapping the surface of asteroid Bennu and learning as much as possible about the mysterious asteroid.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx space probe orbit the asteroid on December 31, less than a month after the spacecraft first approached its target.

When NASA orbiting Bennu, the spacecraft was about 70 million miles (110 million km) from his home.

The arrival of OSIRIS-REx in December marked the end of a solitary 815-day trip through space to the asteroid.

The NASA probe will then hit the asteroid to collect rock samples for its return to Earth in mid-2020.

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For now, NASA will have to rely on its multi-camera NavCam tool to take photos of the space rock.

NASA, in conjunction with the University of Arizona, said: “These two OpNav images of Bennu’s southern hemisphere, which each have an exposure time of approximately 1.4 milliseconds, were captured on January 17 at a distance of about one mile (1.6 km).

“They have been cropped and the contrast has been adjusted to better reveal the characteristics of the surface.

“The large boulder – fully visible in the middle of the left frame and in partial shade in the lower part of the right frame – is approximately 50 meters in diameter.”

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Asteroid Bennu itself is estimated to measure somewhere in the 1,614-foot (492 m) range.

Amy Simon of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said: “The presence of hydrated minerals across the asteroid confirms that Bennu, a holdover from the early formation of the solar system, is an excellent specimen for the OSIRIS-REx mission for study the composition of volatiles and primitive organics.

“When samples of this material are returned from the mission to Earth in 2023, scientists will receive a treasure trove of new information about the history and evolution of our solar system.”

NASA aims to return samples of the regolith from Asteroid Bennu to Earth no later than the end of 2023.

After OSIRIS-REx retrieves rocks from the asteroid, it will remain in space until it can safely return to Earth with the samples in a safe capsule.

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